My Mutt Stories: Shir Panjeh
Featured My Mutt... "Shir Panjeh"
Shir Panjeh will never know how close he was to death's door. He'll never live with memories of strange scary places and smells of caged frightened animals because he was only 3 weeks old when Humanimal Connection removed him, his mother and siblings from the Kern County Animal Shelter. All of Shir Panjeh's first memories are of three young girls who played wth him, dressed him up in doll dresses, bathed him in smelly bubble bath and loved him while he, his mother and siblings lived together at their foster home. Shir Panjeh also remembers his kitten name, Tiger, and the voices of the young girls who come over to visit him every now and then. Thanks to the program called the Humanimal Connection, over 45 mother cats and their kittens were removed from the Kern County Animal Shelter euthanasia room that fateful day in May 2008. This was the largest rescue the all volunteer group had ever done where they were able to gather, transport to the Bay Area and shepherd out to willing foster families all rescued felines that very day.
I first met Shir Panjeh, at the time named Tiger, when he was 5 weeks old. The foster family lives in our neighborhood and I was over there to look at a computer problem. I was introduced to Mama Six and then to her kittens. My neighbors kept telling me I needed to meet Tiger but they didn't know where he was. Midway through my visit, they found him sitting quietly under a living room chair. He was the most adorable kitten I had met and it was love at first sight. He was quiet, observant and showed intelligence beyond his few weeks of age. He was also the smallest of the litter with enormous large back feet that made him appear to be part rabbit. His mother is a full polydactyl, with an additional toe on each foot, however, Shir Panjeh only inherited half of her extra toes, located on both back feet, and over sized front thumb toes that no matter how closely clipped, tap our hardwood floors sounding like a dog walking around our all feline household. When I first met Shir Panjeh I didn't really need another cat, for at that time we had six felines ranging in ages 2 - 16 1/2 years. Nonetheless we adopted him, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. His name is Persian meaning "Paws of the Lion", in honor of his large feet and because we felt he would be a small cat who needed a large, grand name.
Weighing only 7.5 lbs Shir Panjeh is the smallest in our cat household. He is very agile, can leap 36 inches from a sitting position, loves to watch everything that is happening in the house if possible from the tops of my shoulders, and thinks he is the overseer of our family of pet mice, snake and of course our other felines. We have a nickname for him which we never call him in his presence for fear he'll understand what we mean and take it to new levels. His nickname is "Little Napoleon". Shir Panjeh's size is a great asset when he assists us in our foster care of Turkish Vans who average 12 - 17 lbs. When we take the Vans into our home they usually stay with us for a short time before they travel to their forever homes, or they stay with us for some kind of rehabilitation. Shir Panjeh is always curious about who they are and is often at the door trying to get in the first day they arrive. Turkish Vans love to play and although Shir Panjeh's companion brother is a Turkish Van, Shir Panjeh follows the philosophy of "more is fun". His small size is no threat to the Turkish Vans, so they relax instantly to his presence while he gets down to business getting to know them, their food and if they want to play. This act helps them ease out of their travel weariness and tension of an unfamiliar place. They focus on this tiny cat with so much energy and charisma, that they will ease into a happy cat's life of play which Shir Panjeh lives to its fullest.